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Devos Y.,GMO Unit | Hails R.S.,UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology | Messean A.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Perry J.N.,Oaklands Barn | Squire G.R.,James Hutton Institute
Transgenic Research | Year: 2012

One of the concerns surrounding the import (for food and feed uses or processing) of genetically modified herbicide tolerant (GMHT) oilseed rape is that, through seed spillage, the herbicide tolerance (HT) trait will escape into agricultural or semi-natural habitats, causing environmental or economic problems. Based on these concerns, three EU countries have invoked national safeguard clauses to ban the marketing of specific GMHT oilseed rape events on their territory. However, the scientific basis for the environmental and economic concerns posed by feral GMHT oilseed rape resulting from seed import spills is debatable. While oilseed rape has characteristics such as secondary dormancy and small seed size that enable it to persist and be redistributed in the landscape, the presence of ferals is not in itself an environmental or economic problem. Crucially, feral oilseed rape has not become invasive outside cultivated and ruderal habitats, and HT traits are not likely to result in increased invasiveness. Feral GMHT oilseed rape has the potential to introduce HT traits to volunteer weeds in agricultural fields, but would only be amplified if the herbicides to which HT volunteers are tolerant were used routinely in the field. However, this worst-case scenario is most unlikely, as seed import spills are mostly confined to port areas. Economic concerns revolve around the potential for feral GMHT oilseed rape to contribute to GM admixtures in non-GM crops. Since feral plants derived from cultivation (as distinct from import) occur at too low a frequency to affect the coexistence threshold of 0. 9% in the EU, it can be concluded that feral GMHT plants resulting from seed import spills will have little relevance as a potential source of pollen or seed for GM admixture. This paper concludes that feral oilseed rape in Europe should not be routinely managed, and certainly not in semi-natural habitats, as the benefits of such action would not outweigh the negative effects of management. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Perry J.N.,Oaklands Barn | Devos Y.,GMO Unit | Arpaia S.,New Energy Technologies | Bartsch D.,Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety | And 11 more authors.
Journal of Applied Ecology | Year: 2012

In farmland biodiversity, a potential risk to the larvae of non-target Lepidoptera from genetically modified (GM) Bt-maize expressing insecticidal Cry1 proteins is the ingestion of harmful amounts of pollen deposited on their host plants. A previous mathematical model of exposure quantified this risk for Cry1Ab protein. We extend this model to quantify the risk for sensitive species exposed to pollen containing Cry1F protein from maize event 1507 and to provide recommendations for management to mitigate this risk. A 14-parameter mathematical model integrating small- and large-scale exposure was used to estimate the larval mortality of hypothetical species with a range of sensitivities, and under a range of simulated mitigation measures consisting of non-Bt maize strips of different widths placed around the field edge. The greatest source of variability in estimated mortality was species sensitivity. Before allowance for effects of large-scale exposure, with moderate within-crop host-plant density and with no mitigation, estimated mortality locally was <10% for species of average sensitivity. For the worst-case extreme sensitivity considered, estimated mortality locally was 99·6% with no mitigation, although this estimate was reduced to below 40% with mitigation of 24-m-wide strips of non-Bt maize. For highly sensitive species, a 12-m-wide strip reduced estimated local mortality under 1·5%, when within-crop host-plant density was zero. Allowance for large-scale exposure effects would reduce these estimates of local mortality by a highly variable amount, but typically of the order of 50-fold. Mitigation efficacy depended critically on assumed within-crop host-plant density; if this could be assumed negligible, then the estimated effect of mitigation would reduce local mortality below 1% even for very highly sensitive species. Synthesis and applications.Mitigation measures of risks of Bt-maize to sensitive larvae of non-target lepidopteran species can be effective, but depend on host-plant densities which are in turn affected by weed-management regimes. We discuss the relevance for management of maize events where cry1F is combined (stacked) with a herbicide-tolerance trait. This exemplifies how interactions between biota may occur when different traits are stacked irrespective of interactions between the proteins themselves and highlights the importance of accounting for crop management in the assessment of the ecological impact of GM plants. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Applied Ecology © 2011 British Ecological Society.

Devos Y.,Genetically Modified Organisms Unit | Romeis J.,Institute for Sustainability science ISS | Maggiore A.,Scientific Committee and Emerging Risks Unit | Perry J.N.,Oaklands Barn | And 3 more authors.
EMBO Reports | Year: 2015

Environmental risk assessments cannot cover all conceivable risks. It is therefore necessary to translate broader policies such as sustainable development into specific protection goals with the overall aim of protecting biodiversity and maintaining ecosystem services. © 2015 The Authors.

Perry J.N.,Oaklands Barn | Devos Y.,GMO Unit | Arpaia S.,ENEA | Bartsch D.,Bundesamt fur Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit BVL | And 10 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

Genetically modified (GM) maize MON810 expresses a Cry1Ab insecticidal protein, derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), toxic to lepidopteran target pests such as Ostrinia nubilalis. An environmental risk to non-target Lepidoptera from this GM crop is exposure to harmful amounts of Bt-containing pollen deposited on host plants in or near MON810 fields. An 11-parameter mathematical model analysed exposure of larvae of three non-target species: The butterflies Inachis to (L.), Vanessa atalanta (L.) and moth Plutella xylostella (L.), in 11 representative maize cultivation regions in four European countries. A mortality-dose relationship was integrated with a dose-distance relationship to estimate mortality both within the maize MON810 crop and within the field margin at varying distances from the crop edge. Mortality estimates were adjusted to allow for physical effects; the lack of temporal coincidence between the susceptible larval stage concerned and the period over which maize MON810 pollen is shed; and seven further parameters concerned with maize agronomy and host-plant ecology. Sublethal effects were estimated and allowance made for aggregated pollen deposition. Estimated environmental impact was low: in all regions, the calculated mortality rate for worst-case scenarios was less than one individual in every 1572 for the butterflies and one in 392 for the moth. © 2010 The Royal Society.

Devos Y.,GMO Unit | Aguilera J.,GMO Unit | Diveki Z.,GMO Unit | Gomes A.,GMO Unit | And 6 more authors.
Transgenic Research | Year: 2014

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and derived food and feed products are subject to a risk analysis and regulatory approval before they can enter the market in the European Union (EU). In this risk analysis process, the role of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which was created in 2002 in response to multiple food crises, is to independently assess and provide scientific advice to risk managers on any possible risks that the use of GMOs may pose to human and animal health and the environment. EFSA's scientific advice is elaborated by its GMO Panel with the scientific support of several working groups and EFSA's GMO Unit. This review presents EFSA's scientific activities and highlights its achievements on the risk assessment of GMOs for the first 10 years of its existence. Since 2002, EFSA has issued 69 scientific opinions on genetically modified (GM) plant market registration applications, of which 62 for import and processing for food and feed uses, six for cultivation and one for the use of pollen (as or in food), and 19 scientific opinions on applications for marketing products made with GM microorganisms. Several guidelines for the risk assessment of GM plants, GM microorganisms and GM animals, as well as on specific issues such as post-market environmental monitoring (PMEM) were elaborated. EFSA also provided scientific advice upon request of the European Commission on safeguard clause and emergency measures invoked by EU Member States, annual PMEM reports, the potential risks of new biotechnology-based plant breeding techniques, evaluations of previously assessed GMOs in the light of new scientific publications, and the use of antibiotic resistance marker genes in GM plants. Future challenges relevant to the risk assessment of GMOs are discussed. EFSA's risk assessments of GMO applications ensure that data are analysed and presented in a way that facilitates scientifically sound decisions that protect human and animal health and the environment. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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